Senior guard Shamir Davis scored 19 points, propelling second-seeded Northwestern State to a 68-66 victory over top-seeded Stephen F. Austin in the championship game of the Southland Conference Tournament on Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy, Texas.
Junior forward DeQuan Hicks added 13 points for Northwestern State (23-8), which secured its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2006. Junior guard Desmond Haymon scored 23 points for Stephen F. Austin (27-4), which was No. 1 in the nation in scoring at 81.5 points per game entering the game.
Stephen F. Austin jumped out to an 11-3 lead less than four minutes into the game, but Northwestern State rallied to make it a see-saw affair with 12 lead changes in the half. The Demons surged ahead by as many as seven late in the period, but the Lumberjacks closed the half with a 9-1 run.
Northwestern State claimed the lead early in the second half and slowly stretched it to nine points with 9:11 remaining. Stephen F. Austin rallied to cut the deficit to one on a jumper by Desmond Haymon with 4:04 to play, but the Demons held on to win.